Monday, August 31, 2009

RR Companions Vault Alternate Guards

This one was simple, compared to the main Companions Mod.

In short, I liked ttomwv's idea to have guards around Vault 1. I did not, however, like those guys who kept fucking up my hot-girl-infested-vault scheme.

I considered modifying the offical guards plugin, but decided against it. It would have been more work than creating new, and the girls ttomwv put together weren't really my style.

Hence, the creation of eight of my own guards.

While they function as Companions, that's not the intention.

I also wrote it so that my alternate guards plugin can run side by side with the official RR_Guards plugin, for even more gun-toting enforcers roaming Vault 1.

I don't personally do this, as my computer is old and minimum spec and doesn't like that many NPCs in one cell.

Naturally, the guards start in Vault 1 and will do their guard thing without any input from the player.

Nos' RR Companions

As I said, once I got hold of ttomwv's RR Companions Vault and it's CM system, I decided I needed my own companions.

My cadre of sadistic cuties, as I like to call them. The girls have followed me through Oblivion and back, and other games beyond. One in particular has made appearances as far back as Unreal Tournament and the first Neverwinter Nights.

Naturally, they had to be revived, to continue aiding my brutal rampages across the new battlefield of the Capital Wasteland, circa 2277.

It took only a couple days to get the four I wanted made, placed, and bug-tested.

I agonized for several days, deciding whether I wanted to actually upload the work. It's not that it's intensely personal or anything like that... I'm just paranoid and a social recluse.

Still, after some encouragement from ttomwv, I decided what the hell, I'll do it.

Rather than just leave the four I wanted, I ran up six more, to give a little something for everyone. Good girls, bad girls, even a ghoul for those of you with serious issues.

(I played all the way through Seducing Women once... I know you sickos are out there)

To aid the player in keeping track of them, or finding them when they wandered off for whatever reason, I wrote up a tracking system, and added it to the Overseer's Terminal in the player's bedroom in Vault 1.

The tracking system uses a set of non-finishable, repeatable quests with markers to show you at any given time the location of any or all the companions. It's set up to allow you to choose individual girls to track, or can track all in a single entry. Because of the way the quests are written, markers can be turned on and off as many times as you like.

The tracking system is inelegant for my taste. I wanted an inventory item that would call and remove the quest entries, but the scripting didn't cooperate. The terminal was a stopgap just to get the system working. It ended up working so seamlessly and reliably that I decided to just make it official.

Altogether, you could call the Nos' Companions Mods (Companions mod, Alternate Guards, tracking system) my flagship release. I've put lots of time into it already, and it's just getting started.

Initially, it was simple. Straightforward companions who did what you said, and never retreated.

However, my goal from the start has been immersion. To make the companions live. Have daily lives when not following you around, distinct personalities, and even personal conversations and questlines.

Naturally, this is going to be awhile, as if you take a look at something like the Saerileth companion in Oblivion, just getting one companion that far takes months of work, and I'm going to try it for ten.

That said, I am making progress.

One of the first things I thought of to make them seem more alive, was the addition of sandbox AI packages. Rather than standing around blankly in their starting locations, the girls would live. Eat, sleep, work, roam.

Unfortunately, this had some unintended side-effects. Since the AI packages all revolved around Vault 1, most of the girls would leave their starting locations and go to the Vault to start living without awaiting your gracious invitation.

This was one of the things that necessitated the tracking system. Without it, two or three of the girls are virtually impossible to find until and unless they show up in the Vault... and even then it's damned hard to tell when they've arrived, and when they're still in transit.

Another side-effect was Celia. While she didn't usually go to Vault 1, she also didn't stay in the Rivet City marketplace, where I intended her to be found. Rather, she prefers roaming the bridge tower, occasionally having coffee or swiping a bottle of whiskey from a table. Why? I have no idea. I chalked it up as true AI manifesting itself, and just warn people about it.

The Cohen sisters are another interesting one. Twins, they have identical bodies, faces, and AI package loadouts. Yet, One goes to Vault 1 on her own, while the other never leaves the Abandoned Tent unless you go get her. Why? Beats the hell out of me. Again: tracking system to the rescue.

As it stands, I'm trying to work out how to keep them in place until the player arrives, but still allow them to sandbox and live in Vault 1 when not being companions. It looks like I'm going to have to use a scripted call to add the packages on the fly, when the player tells them to stay in Vault 1 the first time.

As my skills in the GECK improve, so too do the companions' faces.

You can see here two of the later version Cohens, after I redid their faces to fix that weird spot around the mouth.

The bikinis help a bit, too, I suppose...

Rather than post all of them, if you're looking for more pictures, I'll suggest you hit the Picasa Folder where I've stored all the images.

There's a lot I could go into here about future plans, the girl's personalities and whatnot, but I don't want to spoil too much...

...I also don't want to set myself up too much for when I change my mind and abandon the project...

Still, for the moment I'm not tossing it onto the "too much trouble" pile.

In fact, I'm getting close to releasing a new version. The new "AV" version. Alternate, or Adult, take your pick.

It uses Dimon99's Type3 Body and textures in different combinations, coupled with height settings, to create nine distinct bodies for the companions and guards. Different heights, breast sizes, and personal grooming habits make - I feel - the girls seem more unique and realistic.

I had been holding off on releasing it not only until I received Dimon99's permission, but because I had intended to include a new set of activators and some modified scripting to further improve the companions. The additions are, however, not playing nicely, and I've decided to upload it anyway, without the additions.

Also in the new version, I'm making inroads towards the girls' actual personalities. For instance, Maeva - being a Goddess of Death - will gleefully enact slaughter to the bitter end, no matter the odds. On the flip side, Kate is a fifteen year old science enthusiast, and is (quite sensibly) prone to running away when things look too grim. The others fall into various points on the spectrum.

This will doubtless be frustrating for some players, but I'm not out to create an army of mindless bots.

In all likelihood, I will leave a version together without the personality. Where they don't have backstories or quests or run away, and are basically just packmules and killers and eyecandy in general.

Sounds boring, I know.

Enclave Retexture

I know what you're thinking.

"Matt, you've done the other power armors... where's the Enclave love?"

I considered it, Kiddies, I really did. Even went so far as to dig up a sample of an urban digital pattern.

Problem is, Enclave armor just does not lend itself to camouflaging. After struggling with it a half hour or so, I stopped and thought.

Enclave are supposed to be the big, bad, boogeymen. The faceless black troops of DOOM who crush all non-believers with their massively superior technology and whatnot.

I figure not only does leaving the armor black help with the intimidation factor, but these fuckers are more than likely arrogant enough to think they don't need to blend in to survive.

Hence, there will be no Enclave camo from Nos.

...Then, I thought about the certifiable nightmare that trying to retex the Tesla armor would have been...

Yeah... no Enclave love here.

Outcast MARPAT Retexture

This one was a tough call. I actually liked the black and red thing the Outcasts have going on, but I figured if everyone else was getting camo, they should have some too.

Again: simple pattern, easy on the brushing, but not a joke.

MARPAT. Also readily available, and brushed on easily, and stands out easily from the BoS camo. I figured they'd want to look different at a distance and whatnot.

This one was supreme irony. It was a fast and easy job, that turned out looking better than the Multicam job I spent five hours on.

Amazingly, the camo actually works. It makes you all but disappear in the Capital Wasteland. So kudos Corps there. Camo so good it even works in video games.

Interestingly, even though it's technically better work, this retex has fewer downloads than the Multicam one.

Brotherhood of Steel ACU Retexture

This was a quick 'n dirty job.

I didn't do it for me so much... I don't like BoS armor, but the flat gray was so boring.

Again: they seem to have forgotten how camo helps you not get shot in the ass.

Wanted a passable pattern, something that was easy to paint on without too many edges where the pattern brush repeated itself.

ACU images were readily available, and after a quick test... looked okay. Not great, mind you, but not terrible.

This was left even patchier than the Multicam job, mostly to keep with Bethesda's theme of the BoS stuff all looking like it's twenty minutes from breaking down.

It also changes the Prototype Medic Armor, found in Old Olney. Apparently they share textures. I still haven't figured out what the heart-emblazoned pink texture in Bethesda's textures.bsa file is for... and I'm not sure I want to know.

Multicam T-51B Retexture

Was playing Fallout 3 one night, after having run through Fort Constantine, and retrieving the T-51B I realized something.

Much as I love the stats... Bethesda's texture on the T-51B is shit. Like with all their armor, the people in this alternate timeline seem to have forgotten what man has known for thousands of years: not looking like a soldier helps keep you from getting dead.

So I thought about it a bit. What camouflage would be best? The T-51B is a unique item in the capital wasteland, and accordingly needed a cool pattern.

Multicam. Hell, it's my favorite actual camouflage pattern, so why shouldn't I wear it in-game, as well?

I'll admit it: the first version I uploaded was shit. I did the work from about 0430 to 0600 without having slept, and there were glaring errors all over the place.

Pulled the file from being viewable for a couple hours, hastily fixed as much as I could, and called it passable. Others could do better, I'm sure, but I like how it turned out.

I could have gone for perfection, but I wanted the pattern to look like it was two hundred years old and had been marched across the capital wasteland and back.

Between the GIMP screwing with the pattern resolution, and the Fallout 3 engine's love of reversing textures on armor, I about threw my monitor out the window more than once.

It took awhile to get the IR patches placed where they were readable and on the sides I wanted.

I put the A Pos tape on the helmet cause that's my blood type. I've got the others on file, and had offered to run up other versions with the other types on request, but no one's ever taken me up on it.

Still, no dissenters in the comments, so I must not have done that horrible a job.

CALIBR Compatible M1911s

Another fairly simple one, this was a departure from script-fixing, and into modding weapons.

I liked Brurpo's M1911 mod, but it was... lacking. the M1911 was in 10mm Auto only, which seemed a waste to me.

On a whim one sleepless night, I cracked the GECK open, and rewrote it to use the Community Ammunition Library - or CALIBR as it's more often called.

That done, I created some new versions of the pistol - in .45acp, 9x19mm, .357SIG, and .22LR. I also changed the base weights, as Brurpo had for some reason set it to eight pounds. I've handled a lot of 1911's over the years, but even a comped, red-dotted, mag-welled IPSC race rig rarely tops four pounds. Stock pistols tend to be about three, with a full mag.

I had wanted to add another variant in .40 Short and Weak, but that cartridge hasn't been added to CALIBR yet, and I didn't want to get into modding something else that day.

Added the pistols for sale from Moira Brown, and several in a stash hidden with the Victory Rifle.

It then occured to me that I needed the author's permission to upload my little improvement.

A PM sent, and the next day Brurpo kindly agreed to not only let me upload the modified version of his mod, but to include the meshes and textures too, for a standalone package.

Damn nice of him.

Like most of my other work, it doesn't seem to be extraordinarily popular, but then again I don't pimp my files all over the forums and web in general.

Screenshots were simple, and the lighting sucked. Blame the Rain and Snow weather mod I run.

RR Vanilla Companion Firing Fix

This was another small scripting change, done to help the community, and not me. Since getting hold of the CM system, I don't give a shit about Bethesda's boring companions, but apparently a lot of people still use them for some odd reason.

The problem, is that in Fallout 3's companion script, there is a function that fires the companions if you leave them somewhere other than your Tenpenny Suite or Megaton house for more than a few days.

Again, this was a simple script edit. All I had to do was add in Vault 1 as a "safe" location, and the game stopped sending the likes of Clover and Fawkes away to their homes.

For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would use the vanilla companions anymore. CM aside, there are other dynamite companions out there like Jessi and Kelsey, which just blow Clover and Charon and Cross away. We won't even get into how useless Dogmeat is.

Still, it took me all of ten minutes to fix, and while not exceedingly popular, it's apparently helping some people.

RR Companions Sneaking Fix

This was the first "mod" I ever released for public consumption.

About two weeks prior, I had found and downloaded a wonderful new mod, the RR Companions Vault. Normally, I'd have passed. Vaults aren't really my thing for personal living space.

What set this one apart, was that it included a form of the CM Companions system from Oblivion. CM Companions was my favorite, and I've made at least a dozen of 'em.

Naturally, the prospect of being able to run up my own companions in Fallout 3 appealed, so I snagged it, and made them up.

Almost immediately, a problem arose. While I'm not the sneaky-sneaky-avoid-combat type of player, I do use sneak mode often in the Wasteland to get the critical attack bonus while picking people off from great distances.

The problem? Whenever I entered sneak mode, my companions went batshit insane, and starting killing everything - including each other, and me. Not good. I tried it with the couple of "stock" companions that are included with the Vault, and they did the same thing, which led me to believe it was not my work, but something in the base script.

I ignored it for awhile, and just didn't use sneak. Eventually, though, I got tired of it, fired up the GECK, and set about fixing the problem. I notice that in the code is a modifier to the companions' behavior that, upon the player entering sneak mode, resets the companion's responsibility to zero, and their aggression to five.

What this means, from a practical standpoint, is that if they aren't in love with you, they try to rip out your spleen and hand it to you.

A simple value change from five to zero on the aggression change fixes the issue.

ttomwv added the change to the next version of his base mod, and I got a kudos out of it.

The file had a single screenshot uploaded:

Which simply proved that you could sneak without getting holed.

Even though long since unnecessary, I left the file up for download, and amazingly it draws a few more downloads every week. I have no idea why, but if people find it useful, what the hell.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Post

So, first post on the new blog.

Why did I make this one, being as I barely update the other? While I may not always be in the mood to post about this week's stupidest politicians' tricks or the like, I wanted someplace to post updates and general information about my ongoing FO3 mods, without cluttering up the file entries on the Nexus with information many people may not care about.

What can you expect to see here? Screenshots, general information, release information, and notes on how my efforts are going. This is going to be more important soon, as since receiving Dimon99's gracious approval to use his meshes and textures, I've nearly topped out where my companions and guards mods can go, without delving into scripting.

The scripting engine in the GECK and I don't get along very well, so this next part could take awhile, and it will likely be some time between releases of new versions of the mods - barring of course bug fixes and minor feature changes and whatnot.

I plan to write up ongoing posts about the released files, and am in the process of uploading screenshots and supplementary pictures to a centralized location, where you can look over all the pics without having to delve through my files entry on Fallout3nexus.

I'll also, from time to time, post up info and links on the occasional must have mod I come across written by someone else. Don't expect too many of those, though, since I don't see must haves often.